Balenciaga’s New Couture For Men Is Impeccable Ballroom Outfit For Plutocrats

Balenciaga's New Couture For Men Is Impeccable Ballroom Outfit For Plutocrats

This country’s greatest living seamstress, Vivienne Westwood, recently wrote for her online journal Climate Revolution (read, it’s fabulous): “Sewing is the only sustainable economy: highly skilled, labor intensive and sold at actual price.”
The lady is not wrong. Ever since legendary British fashion designer Charles Worth founded the world’s very first fashion house in Paris in 1858, the process of creating a garment from scratch to perfectly fit a client’s body – and, to in turn, their exacting aesthetic specifications – has been the fashion industry’s unstoppable zenith: the triple-iced icing on an already fabulous cake.
Today, as part of Paris Couture Week, Demna Gvasalia – the Georgian creative director of the Balenciaga house (for which the eponymous founder Cristobal produced legendary couture collections until his retirement in 1968) – lived up to Westwood’s maxim, showing an inaugural couture assault offering for the brand, of which he has been the creative lead since 2015.
And although dresses, opera coats and hourglass jackets did much to respect and reinvent Monsieur Balenciaga’s extraordinary creative heritage, it was really the wide choice of looks dedicated to men – the first couture looks for men never presented under the aegis of the house, in fact – which rubs off on the retinas of this particular correspondent.
Because the truth is, men’s tailoring isn’t something that you tend to see a lot. Indeed, beyond bespoke suits handcrafted by the best tailors of Savile Row, tailoring created specifically for men was a moot concept until recently, when designers such as Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino and lately Kim Jones at Fendi began to sprinkle intricate menswear looks through their couture collections.
Many of Gvaslia’s design touchstones (which he polished to a shine during his time in the house owned by Kering and during his tenure at Vetements Collective) could be spotted everywhere. There were a handful of large tees in the collection, the shoulders were almost cartoonishly oversized on the majority of the bespoke items, and naturally there were a few pairs of bulky daddy jeans stylized with suit jackets around the show end.
For all the gorp, daddy, and normcore infused gear that roamed the lavishly carpeted floors of the newly renovated 10 avenue George V apartment, which once belonged to Mr. Balenciaga himself, however, there was also a new breath of refinement which seemed appropriate to the surroundings of the living room. The line of each garment was as crisp as a screen mermaid eyebrow, while the fabrics had a fluency not found in any of the designer’s ready-to-wear collections.
In real terms, of course, impeccably tailored hourglass blazers won’t be affordable for most pockets, and neither will voluminous tailored two-piece suits. In fact, based on the prices of women’s tailoring, it would be fair to expect some of Gvasalia’s more complex garments to command six-figure sums. But that’s irrelevant. Much like Mr. Balenciaga and, of course, Westwood before him, with his new couture line, Gvasalia is not looking to sell mountains of clothing; rather, it aims to demonstrate the soft power that fashion in its purest form can display.
As in an interview today the designer explained to WWD, “[I want to preserve] the sacred art of fashion making – what a real bespoke jacket looks and feels like, what wonders haute couture can produce – and share it with the younger generations.”

Mountain Time


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